April 28, 2015

UCPD to Create Community Advisory Committee

The University of Chicago Police Department is establishing a community advisory committee to help the department strengthen its relationship with local residents on a range of safety issues.

The UCPD Community Advisory Committee will be a vital line of communication for UCPD and neighboring communities, helping to develop avenues for collaboration with residents in the department’s patrol area.

“We are committed to building relationships with our neighbors and providing channels for them to give input on our work,” said Derek Douglas, Vice President for Civic Engagement. “We know that good community relations with the police are important in maintaining safety, and we look forward to benefitting from the feedback of the people who know their neighborhoods best.”

Creation of the advisory committee is one part of the UCPD’s commitment to transparency and community engagement. The University announced in April that it would share extensive additional information about UCPD activities, including an online resource with information about traffic stops and arrest records that will be available upon request.

The community advisory committee will consist of representatives from communities within the UCPD’s patrol area, including Kenwood, Hyde Park, Oakland and Woodlawn. Committee members will be chosen by the University in consultation with community leaders and local Aldermen Will Burns (4th Ward), Willie B. Cochran (20th Ward), Pat Dowell (3rd Ward) and Leslie Hairston (5th Ward). UCPD expects the committee to be established by the end of the academic year.

In addition to providing feedback from community members, the advisory committee will promote awareness of UCPD’s services and programs through increased education on police activities and programs available to the community. The University will continue to explore additional opportunities for engagement of community members on safety issues.

“Many community members have expressed an interest in developing greater awareness of safety issues and UCPD services,” said Marlon C. Lynch, associate vice president for safety, security, and civic affairs, and chief of police. “We have been listening to concerns from community members, and we will keep listening and working together on innovative ways to strengthen our relationships.”

Reviews of specific police actions will not be part of the advisory committee’s duties; such reviews are carried out by the Independent Review Committee of the UCPD, which includes three community members in addition to members from the UChicago faculty and student body.